OMG Baked Goodness
OMG Baked Goodness on Dundas West radiates an electric and eclectic energy that justifies its outcry of a name 100%. And the hot pink sign and huge antlers(!) in the window are just the tip of a sweet-eating experience that's larger than life and ultra-funky fun.
Case in point, the actual size of the place immediately catches my attention. The area behind the counter is huge -- big enough to hold dance parties or (more likely) cooking classes, which are on a long list of future plans.
Owner and goodness expert Lesley Mattina tells me that the business that she's run for two years, previously in a wholesale capacity, got a bit of a push to move into retail when this irresistible space came up.
The opening process that began in late-summer appropriately sounds very fun and organic; the bench by the door was built by her friend, and the area under the counters is decorated with baking pans, which I hadn't noticed til she pointed them out.
The place has an effortlessly unique aesthetic that feels as cool and comfortable as hanging out in a good friend's loft -- a particularly creative friend who likes to feed me cupcakes (and has an amazing loft).
This is the kind of aura she's aimed to create. "I want people to feel welcome. I don't want them to feel intimidated or to not know what it is they're looking at. I want them to see the food and want to grab it and stuff it in their mouths."
Mission very much accomplished.
Everything looks oversized and fluffy, but is well-priced in spite of this. Much bigger than sample-size offerings of carrot cake, pumpkin-cranberry sticky toffee pudding and chocolate cupcakes silently compete for my attention. I go for the carrot because I already know that I'm gonna get the giant cupcake no matter what.
The carrot ($2.50) is lighter than any I've ever had, with none of the usual chunks it's known for -- including raisins, thank goodness. I've never wanted to eat carrot cake in such copious amounts before.
I'm implored to try the sticky toffee (a current favourite), and once again, it's far more up my alley than I was expecting. Chewy, but not tough or too dense, it has that tiny bite of spice that seems so right for an early November afternoon.
With all this sweetness, we get to talking about more savoury eats. She hopes to build up this side of things more, mentioning items like sausage rolls as possibilities for the near future. For now, I try a very satisfying cream cheese and roasted veggie turnover ($2.50). I like my sweet purveyors also to know the value of salt, and it looks like I'm in good hands here.
"I'm a meat-asaurus," she says with a firm pride. But in providing product for the Blue Banana in Kensington Market, she was inspired to broaden her appeal and include more specialty items. The mix of all these elements, she says, is very important to her and vital to the inclusive vibe.
"I only wanted to do vegan desserts if I was sure that I could really get it right," she explains. Without sacrificing her standards of taste and quality, Lesley has managed to come up with something that tastes like I am being tricked: the completely incredible vegan chocolate cupcake ($2.50).
I keep trying to detect the absence of butter and milk (flavours I know exceedingly well), but it simply cannot be done. I'm still wrestling with the thought of this two days later.
Apparently I'm not the first meat-asaurus to succumb to its charms. "I gave one to my friend from the Black Hoof without telling her that it was vegan, and she said it was the best cupcake she's ever had," Lesley says with a satisfied smile.
OMFG, you have made a believer out of me.